Home » Henny Penny Donates $100K Equipment Package To Gem City Market

Henny Penny Donates $100K Equipment Package To Gem City Market


Henny Penny Corp. recently made a major donation of foodservice equipment, training and support to Gem City Market, a newly opened cooperative grocery store serving residents on the northwest side of downtown Dayton, Ohio.

Gem City Market is one of a small number of co-ops in Ohio, and may be the first full-scale grocery store in the nation owned and operated by the community.

According to Amaha Sellassie, president of the Gem City Market board, it has been more than a decade since this neighborhood had convenient access to fresh produce, healthy foods and reasonable prices. Working with interested residents and businesses, Lela Klein, co-executive director of Co-op Dayton, argued that the cooperative model can succeed in places where big name grocery chains cannot.

Along with affordable fresh meats, produce and other items in short supply, Gem City Market operates a full-service hot food deli, thanks in large part to the more than $100,000 donation of commercial kitchen equipment, training and ongoing support from Henny Penny.

“We saw incredible value and promise in Gem City Market, and wanted to help and contribute,” said Rob Connelly, Henny Penny chairman and CEO. “As an employee-owned company, we know a sense of ownership is powerful and rewarding and we, too, are passionate about giving back to the community.”

The equipment package provided by Henny Penny lets the co-op grocery store create and serve a full menu of hot, freshly prepared food from the deli, including fresh-breaded fried chicken from a high-volume pressure fryer, French fries and other sides from a multi-well open fryer. Also available is a complete menu of roasted, grilled and baked items from two combi ovens. A heated holding cabinet allows staff to cook ahead of time for better service and less food waste.

Gem City Market General Manager Leah Bahan-Harris said she and her staff were thrilled to be working with hand-picked state-of-the-art equipment.

“The versatility of each piece allows our team to provide a wide range of offerings and lets us respond to what the community hopes to see and taste at Gem City Market,” she said. “As a chef, I look forward to the opportunity this kitchen provides to grow our skills and creativity.”

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